Jerry Springer--The Opera | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Jerry Springer--The Opera

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What if the final conflict between Christ and Satan took place not on the battlefield of Armageddon but on The Jerry Springer Show? Would this face-off be must-see TV? That's the concept behind Jerry Springer--The Opera, the controversial British hit finally receiving its U.S. premiere in a terrific non-Equity production. Intrigued by why anyone would watch Springer's sleazy show, much less appear on it, composer Richard Thomas and librettist Stewart Lee suggest that the on-air encounters between a long procession of losers reflect the eternal struggle between good and evil, salvation and damnation, temptation and faith. True to the show that inspired it, Jerry Springer--The Opera is sacrilegious, crude, and obscene. It's also thought provoking, often hilarious, and beautifully performed here by a young, talented 29-member ensemble under the guidance of director David Zak, choreographer Brenda Didier, and musical director Gary Powell. This show is certainly not for everyone, but its bold, entertaining take on a vulgar cultural phenomenon attains a high level of artistry. a Through 7/8: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3:30 PM, Bailiwick Repertory, Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-883-1090, $25-$40.

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